Province put the Currie Cup boot into Bulls

Western Province retained their unbeaten Currie Cup record thanks to the unerring boot of flyhalf Willem de Waal who only just shaded his opposite number, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, as the Cape side ran out 15-12 victors at Newlands on Saturday evening.


De Waal’s five penalty kicks accounted for all his side’s points while Potgieter was on target with four penalties for the visitors.


But Province will rue the fact that they failed to breach their opponents’ defence after they held the upper hand for sustained passages of play throughout the match.


In fact, Province had enough possession to have sealed the clash as a contest at the end of the first half when the Bulls proved a hard nut to crack.


Province were off to their usual enterprising start and their early thrust came via smart inter-play between backs and forwards, but there was no reward other than ensuring the opening 12 minutes was played between the halfway line and the Bulls’ 22-metre line.


The Bulls’ defence did well to cope with Province’s early show of adventure but they transgressed in the process and De Waal was on target with two penalties to secure a 6-0 lead for the hosts after 12 minutes.


For a short while the Bulls managed to transfer to the other half of the field and Potgieter made their brief stay count with a penalty to reduce the deficit in the 17th minute to 6-3.


The three-point setback, however, merely stung Province into all-out action and the Bulls were left to defend desperately for a prolonged period, losing Gerhard van den Heever in the process after he was sent to the sin bin for a high-tackle.


Province chose to boot three close-range penalties into touch in the space of eight minutes in the hope of securing line-out ball to lay a try-scoring platform.


In 18 hectic minutes leading up to the half-time break, one wave after the other of Province onslaught stopped short of the Bulls tryline as the visitors’ defence stood firm, while at times Province wasted their own best efforts with shoddy passing.


By the time referee Marius Jonker sounded the half-time whistle, Province held a mere three-point lead (6-3) despite a decided territorial advantage.


When the teams returned for the second half the record Currie Cup crowd of 47 835 spectators were treated to vastly different fare as the Bulls imposed themselves on the match for the first time.


Their initial effort was crowned with a 42nd minute penalty by Potgieter, to reduce the stalemate (6-6).


An intercept pass by Province wing Fabian Juries, however, helped his side undo the Bulls’ grip on the match, and in the ensuing play the hosts wrested the initiative again.


De Waal then opened up a six-point gap with two penalties in the space of 12 minutes, the second just on the hour, when the Bulls were again punished for their shortcomings.


With 10 minutes of play remaining, Potgieter was on target with a penalty from the Province 10-metre line which induced a fresh sense of urgency in the ranks of the Bulls and reduced the gap to 12-9.


However, in their urgency to retain possession and to hit the Province defence hard, they infringed once more and De Waal restored the six-point lead.


In the remaining minutes Province did enough to look after their lead, even if they did surrender another Potgieter penalty, three minutes from the end, to run out close-shave victors.


Final Score Western Province 15 Blue Bulls 12


Scorers:


Western Province:
Penalties: Willem de Waal (5).


Blue Bulls:
Penalties: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (4).

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